After the first twelve chapters of Midnight Sun were leaked in 2008, Twilight fans have spent the past twelve years hoping for the release of a completed version. A retelling of Twilight’s iconic love story, Midnight Sun explores the classic tale from Edward Cullen’s perspective – a 104 year old vampire who’s in love with a 17 year old human girl. Questionable, I know, but an undeniably huge success across the globe. And so, when Stephenie Meyer announced that Midnight Sun would finally be released on August 4 this year, fans all over the world were sent into a frenzy and the Twilight fandom was once again re-awoken. The only question is: was it worth the wait?
As someone who never grew out of their Twilight phase, the release of Midnight Sun has been a source of huge excitement to me and it definitely met my expectations. Seeing Edward’s relationship with the other Cullens from a more personal perspective was like a little pocket of gold dust to a long term fan, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t missed Edward’s overly dramatic angst. Midnight Sun was everything I’d hoped it would be, in the best way possible.
There were times that even I was unable to overlook the often indisputably creepy aspects of the novel
However, from an objective viewpoint, I’d also be lying if I said Midnight Sun was always… good. I know, how can I say that? But there were times that even I was unable to overlook the often indisputably creepy aspects of the novel. Reading Edward say that he should be an “ill-tempered and belligerent old man” by now, as well as the fact he refers to Bella as “the girl” for the first part of the novel, only furthers many people’s valid complaints about the problematic nature of Bella and Edward’s relationship. Although Edward does show some self awareness of his questionable behaviour, he doesn’t particularly help his case by bringing oil to grease Bella’s window hinge so it doesn’t squeak when he climbs through to watch her sleep.
And, even as a huge fan of the franchise, I can’t deny that it was long… really long. Nearly double the size of the original novel, Midnight Sun often read more like a stream of consciousness rather than an actual story. Though not necessarily a bad thing at first (truthfully, I did enjoy reading about Edward’s conflicting emotions at the beginning of the novel), the problem was once Bella discovered that Edward was in fact a vampire, the whole novel began to slow down.
While in Twilight there’s about 160 pages between Bella’s revelation and the actual ‘plot’ starting (regarding Bella being hunted down by James, a ‘tracker’ vampire), in Midnight Sun there’s over 300. That wouldn’t have been a problem if there was some actual action happening there, but it was mostly Bella’s unnecessarily detailed answers to Edward’s mundane questions, Edward’s ongoing battle between his romantic needs and his natural instinct to kill Bella, and, of course, Edward watching Bella sleep. Comically enough, even Bella is frequently baffled by Edward’s questions, assuming her answers are boring, and although Edward can’t seem to understand this, unfortunately the reader can.
In uncertain and frightening times such as these, Midnight Sun offers a perfect escape to a fictional world
And yet, having said all this, I still can’t deny that I did love this book. Yes, it was cringey, and yes, the story has many questionable aspects to it, but I didn’t buy the book expecting the next Great American novel. If you’re not a fan of the franchise, you were never going to like Midnight Sun anyway, whether it was good or bad. Of course, a part of the reason many people don’t like the books is because of the way they’re written, but some books aren’t created to win awards or change the world as we know it. Some are just written to be enjoyed, and that’s okay too.
So, was Midnight Sun worth the wait? To put it simply, yes. Is it going to win the Nobel Prize for literature? No. But is it the worst thing that’s ever happened to the literary world and does it deserve to be burned immediately? Also no. In uncertain and frightening times such as these, Midnight Sun offers a perfect escape to a fictional world that has provided myself, and so many others, with a much needed comfort over the past decade. No matter how many bad reviews it gets, whilst reading Midnight Sun, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the Twilight Saga all over again.